Russian Duma approves bill to suspend INF treaty with US
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Russian Duma approves bill to suspend INF treaty with US

The bill, which was submitted by Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 30, was passed by the Russian State Duma on Tuesday with 417 votes in favor of and one abstention. Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ryabkov stressed that the bill requires Russia to suspend, not quit, its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). Speaking to reporters following the voting session, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin also said, “We are making this decision based on the need to protect our national interests.” “The United States has unilaterally suspended the Treaty, putting the entire global security system at risk,” he added. The bill must now be approved by the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, and then signed into law by Putin. According to the bill, the Russian president has the right to resume the implementation of the treaty. Moscow decided to suspend its participation in the INF on February 2, a day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would suspend the treaty for 180 days and would fully withdraw from it later if Russia did not stop what he called “violations” of the treaty. In retaliation, Putin signed a decree on March 4 aimed at suspending his country’s participation in the INF over US “violations.” The INF was signed toward the end of the Cold War, in 1987, by the then US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Under the treaty, both sides were banned from creating ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The pact also banned the sides from deploying short and intermediate-range, land-based missiles in Europe. Washington claims that Russia’s new 9M729 missile is in violation of the treaty and should be dismantled. Russia rebutted the claim in January by unveiling the missile and its key specifications. Major General Mikhail Matveevsky, the Russian chief of missile and artillery troops, said the missile’s maximum range was about 480 kilometers, well within what is allowed under the INF.

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